The Skanda Purana

by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,545,880 words

This page describes The Efficacy of Listening to the Purana which is chapter 36 of the English translation of the Skanda Purana, the largest of the eighteen Mahapuranas, preserving the ancient Indian society and Hindu traditions in an encyclopedic format, detailling on topics such as dharma (virtous lifestyle), cosmogony (creation of the universe), mythology (itihasa), genealogy (vamsha) etc. This is the thirty-sixth chapter of the Karttikamasa-mahatmya of the Vaishnava-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 36 - The Efficacy of Listening to the Purāṇa

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Note: This chapter is an important evidence to show that this Māhātmya is an independent work incorporated later in the Skanda Purāṇa.

Brahmā said:

1-5a. The three holy Tithis (Lunar days) towards the end of the bright half of the month of Kārttika, O great Brāhmaṇas, ending with the full-moon day are very auspicious. They are (collectively) called Antipuṣkariṇī. They are destructive of all sins. He who has been taking the holy bath throughout the month of Kārttika, shall get the full benefit by taking bath during these three Tithis.

On the thirteenth day all the Vedas go into it and sanctify the creatures. On the fourteenth day the Devas along with Yajñas sanctify the creatures. On the full-moon day the good Tīrthas are present along with Viṣṇu. They sanctify all the creatures, even slayers of Brāhmaṇas or drink-addicts (etc.).

5b-11. If anyone takes bath in hot water on the first three days of the month of Kārttika, he falls into the Raurava hell and stays there for the period of the reign of fourteen Indras.

One who is incapable of maintaining the observances for the whole of the month shall do so during these three days.{GL_NOTE::} Thereby he attains the full benefit and rejoices in the region of Viṣṇu.

He who does not take the holy bath etc. with Devas, Pitṛs, Viṣṇu or the preceptor in view shall certainly go to hell.

The householder who feeds a family during these three days, shall redeem all the Pitṛs and attain the greatest region (Mokṣa).

He who reads the Bhagavad-Gītā during the last three days, attains the benefit of a horse-sacrifice everyday.

He who reads the Thousand Names (of the Lord) during the last three days, is never contaminated by sins like a leaf of lotus that is not touched by water. Devahood has been attained by some men and Siddhahood by some.

12. In heaven or on the earth, who is competent to recount the merit of that person who listens to the sacred Bhāgavata text for these three days?

13-16. By resorting to these three days some have attained the state of Brahman. Salvation can be attained through the knowledge of Brahman, or by dying in Prayāga, or by resorting to these three days in the month of Kārttika.

He who performs the worship of Hari during these three days in the month of Kārttika, does not return (to the world) even in hundreds and crores of Kalpas.

O great Brāhmaṇa, everything connected with these three days in the month of Kārttika is meritorious. O sinless one, there is further excellence in Rākā (full-moon with all the sixteen digits). The devotee should get up early in the morning and carry out the cleansing rites, holy ablution etc.

17. After concluding all these routine duties, he should perform the worship of Viṣṇu on that day in the monṃ of Kārttika either in a garden or within the house. He should be devoted to Viṣṇu.

18-20. He should erect a pavilion there, decorated with stumps of plantain trees, mango blossoms and tender leaves as well as sugarcane stems.

He should worship the Lord after embellishing him with garments of various colours. He should worship Hari with fruits etc. including mango blossoms and tender leaves.

The man must remain invariably pure and listen to the greatness of Kārttika either completely, or one chapter or at least one verse thereof.

21-22. Everyday he should listen to the meritorious discourse at least for a Muhūrta (48 minutes). If he is not in a position to listen to it everyday, the man should listen to it at least during the holy month (i.e. Kārttika) or on the holy Tithi (Lunar day of Caturdaśī). By the power of the merit thereof the man shall be liberated from sins.

23. The man conversant with Purāṇas should be an expert, clean, calm and devoid of malice.[1] He should be a good man, kind-hearted, intelligent and fluent in speech. He should expound the meritorious story.

24. When the expounder of the Purāṇas has occupied the seat of Vyāsa (i.e. the pulpit), he should not bow down to anyone till the portion for the day or session is completed.

25. This learned expounder should not deliver his speech in a place infested with bad characters, Śūdras or beasts of prey, or in a gambling house.

26. The listeners should be endued with faith and devotion. They should not be interested in other affairs (at that time). They should be pure, clever and reticent in speech. Then they shall attain merit.

27. Those vile and base men who listen to the meritorious story without any faith shall meet with misery in every birth. They will never get the benefit of the merit.

28. The devotee should honour the Paurāṇika (expounder of Purāṇas) devoutly with sweet scents, garlands, clothes, ornaments and cash presents.

29. Those who listen to the story with devotion shall never become sinners or impoverished.

30. If men go elsewhere while the discourse is going on, their wives and riches will perish in the midst of their enjoyment of pleasure.

31. If any man in the audience is seated on a high pedestal and is not humble, he shall be reborn as a poisonous tree. If anyone (from the audience) goes to sleep, he shall be reborn as a python in a forest.

32. Even as the discourse is going on, if people make noise and disturb everyone, they will suffer the tortures of hells for a crore years (ten million years) and are reborn as rural pigs.

33. Those men who expound the Paurāṇic story of great excellence stay in the region of Brahmā for more than a hundred crores of Kalpas.

34-35. Those men who give the expounder of the Purāṇas a blanket, a deer skin, clothes, plank or a raised platform for sitting, those men who give him clothes to wear or ornaments etc. shall reside in the abode of Brahmā.

36. If the expounder is satisfied, all the Deities are satisfied. Hence a man endowed with devotion and faith should please him devoutly. He will fully enjoy the fruit of his merit undoubtedly.

37. By listening to the Purāṇas once a man obtains that benefit which is derived from all the Yajñas and all the charitable gifts.

38. In Kaliyuga there is no greater and more specialised holy rite than listening to a Purāṇa; there is no greater path of salvation than listening to a Purāṇa. There is nothing greater than the glorification of the name of Viṣṇu.

39. He who listens to or expounds this greatness of Kārttika Vrata shall obtain the benefit of a visit to Badarī, the chief among the Tīrthas.

40-41. It dispels all ailments. It is the cause of the destruction of all sins. It is auspicious. If a person is engaged in carnally approaching forbidden women or in selling a daughter or a sister, listening to this Purāṇa portion simultaneously liberates both.

42. After listening to this greatness the devotee should worship the expounder with presents of cows, plots of grounds, gold and garments, because he is on a par with Viṣṇu.

43. A book of ethics or Dharmaśāstra, Purāṇa, Vedavidyā etc. should be presented to the expounder by a person having a desire for merit. The donors of Purāṇavidyā enjoy infinite benefit.

44. He who reads this with devotion, listens to it and retains it in his mind is liberated from all sins. He goes to the world of Viṣṇu.

45. This should not be divulged to anyone who has no faith or who has a vicious mind.

46. If a person does not worship and revere his preceptor who has expounded Dharma, he suffers tortures in Narakas and then meets with misery in the next birth.

47-48a. He should worship the preceptor with the greatest reverence without turning his attention to anything else. So one shall devoutly revere the preceptor who gives him knowledge of truth.

O sinless one, only a small portion of the Māhātmya has been spoken to you by me. It cannot be explained completely even in hundreds of years.

48b-49. Formerly, Śiva spoke this to Pārvatī on the summit of Kailāsa, narrating the greatness of Kārttika for a hundred years. Still it did not come to a close. Incapable of doing it, he desisted from it.

50. A person who seeks a son, a person who seeks wealth, one who seeks kingdom—all these shall attain their respective objectives. Why should much be said? One who seeks salvation shall attain salvation.

Sūta said:

51. Nārada who had been addressed ṃus by Brahmā, became filled with love and devotion. The sage who moves about at will (in a carefree manner) bowed down frequently to him and went away.

52. It was spoken by Śaṅkara to his son with a desire for welfare. On hearing those words of his father, the Six-faced Lord became highly delighted.

53. The greatness of Kārttika was recounted to Satyabhāmā by Kṛṣṇa. Delighted thereby, Satyā performed the Vrata.

54. After hearing about the greatness from Vālakhilyas, the sages became devoted to the Vrata of Kārttika. Hence this Kārttika Vrata is a great favourite.

55. After learning all the scriptures, this has been taken out like the essence from milk (i.e. butter). There is no other scripture which is auspicious and conducive to the pleasure of Viṣṇu.

Vyāsa said:

56. After saying thus to all those sages, Sūta, the most excellent one among those conversant with Dharma, stopped (his narration). Then they revered him.

57. Those great sages went back to their hermitages with great delight. They performed the auspicious Vrata in the manner Sūta had instructed them.

58. Those who perform Kārttika Vrata according to this procedure, shall become liberated from all sins. They shall go to the world of Viṣṇu.

:: End of Kārttikamāsa-Māhātmya ::

Footnotes and references:


The importance of the observance of the last three days of this month. It is a concession to weak and old people.


The eligibility of the propounder of the Purāṇa and the norms to be observed while hearing the Purāṇa.

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